My most memorable customer Service project

The Project task was to implement a VoIP system for a client. It entailed configuring 190 phones, 6 switches and an IP PABX at the client’s headquarters in Nairobi. We were to roll out the project also,at  their three branches in Nakuru, Mombasa and Kisumu.

The Problem:

The client was using a traditional telephony system. This did not support modern technologies and applications as some of the switches had reached their end of life. However, according to the client, the risk associated with changing a reliable phone system that was already working for them to a relatively unknown VoIP solution seemed very high. Although, they were fully aware of the advantages that the newer technology would offer them. Additionally, the client’s employees were skeptical with the new platform with fears that their calls would be recorded and monitored by their IT department.

The Solution:

We had to do alot of internal awareness creation to minimize resistance to the change that was inevitable. Engaging internal stakeholders is key to such a project’s success. This includes both management and the employees who are the end users in such a case.

The next step was to migrate their end of life switches and this was done with diligence as it had an impact on their network. We performed this exercise in phases over a period of time to avoid disruptions to the users. This included working over a couple of Saturdays when the users were not in the office. This ensured less disruptions to the client’s business of which the client really appreciated the orderliness.

We experienced an issue with one-way audio on the phones during the implementation process. This necessitated contacting their IT team in France to resolve. It was a challenge to get on call with the team to have a discussion on the issue experienced without raising a ticket. After much effort we finally managed to get on call with the France team and resolved the issue on the one-way audio. Some challenges are unforeseen and teams have to be prepared to handle unforeseen challenges that may come up. This is professionalism. At MTN, we believe in solving our client’s problems in a manner that gives them peace of mind. Thus we go the extra mile to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Training the staff was paramount after the implementation and this was handled on an individual basis as they were not available at the same time. I was determined to ensure all staff were trained. At one point the users mistook me for their new IT staff as I was available to help them at their office on a daily basis for the duration of the project.

Challenges and Triumphs experienced during the project:

The major challenge experienced was in coordinating the local team and the consultant in France. They were skeptical in making changes on their firewall, even though this was a necessary step. In addition, we experienced a lot of resistance to the new change from the users on the new implementation and managed to convince them that the change in the telephony was purely based on change in technology and taking advantage of the new capabilities that came with VoIP. They eventually embraced the VoIP service and the client is among the top billing customer.

I am the lead engineer for the account three years in a row and it has been an interesting journey supporting their digital transformation journey and embracing the various capabilities.

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